New SOCOM on the PSP Takes Aim at Software Pirates

The finally released SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3, Slant Six's portable shooter with a not-so-portable name, requires players to complete a unique online registration via the PlayStation Network in order to access its online gameplay components.

All UMD copies of the game are packaged with a voucher for the activation and digitally-download versions of the game will register automatically when downloaded. Gamers who pick up a used copy of the game will also be able to download a $20 PSN entitlement voucher for access to online play.

IGN followed up with SCEA's director of hardware marketing, John Koller, who explained that while SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3 is the first PSP title to implement this type of DRM protection, it may not be the last. Though no other PSP games were announced as potential candidates for future efforts at this type of copy protection, Koller admitted that Sony is evaluating and "investigating future opportunities."

Though the game was just released for Sony's PSP yesterday, the new DRM implementation wasn't mentioned by Sony until today. When IGN asked Koller how gamers would respond to the new online-activation process, he responded:

From our research, this will be received quite positively. Remember, piracy affects more than just the creators of the game. It also affects the consumers who purchase titles expecting a high-quality gaming experience. Game development is a long and costly process that can take years to create and many more dollars to develop, manufacture, market and distribute.

Our goal is to keep this development pipeline flowing with creative new IPs, well known franchises and pick up and play experiences that all can legally enjoy. That's something that all fans can be happy about.
Considering that SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 retails for $39.99, and that those buying the game used would have to shell out an additional $20 to play online, buying a previously owned copy and the online add-on will be more expensive than buying a brand new copy for quite some time.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 17, 2010 4:07 PM

    New SOCOM on the PSP Takes Aim at used sales

    • reply
      February 17, 2010 4:21 PM

      yeah, Jeff should rename the article.

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      February 17, 2010 8:02 PM

      Ahh. That makes more sense.

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      February 18, 2010 1:04 PM

      I'm surprised it took them this long and that so many people fall over themselves thinking this is a piracy thing.

      A used game sale is more likely to be a retail sale lost than pirate copy is.

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        February 18, 2010 3:01 PM

        Cubdog, I want to curl up inside your brain and bask in it's great logic. A used game sale probably IS more likely to be a retail sale lost than a pirated copy, I never fucking thought of that before. My whole piracy arguement has been that not every copy pirated was a lost sale. This is good food for thought.

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          February 18, 2010 8:27 PM

          Well it's not the be all and end all of the story of course. Yet it is a valuable point. It's also quite laughable for those people who wax on about the perils of piracy and its effect on developers profits, who then buy games used and put zero money into the developers pocket too. The hypocrisy is certainly lost on them.

          And yes, not every pirate copy is a lost sale. Seems far more logical to me that the publishers should be asking why those people pirate and fix those problems rather than chasing these, for want of a better phrase, 'ghost customers'.

          More to the point, where are they getting these expectations? Isn't expendable income a finite resource? Not sure about anyone else but I certainly don't have the expendable income to pay for any game, movie, book, dvd etc whenever I please. So why do they think that I can afford to drop $180 a month on games? You can put the best DRM on the game in the world and it won't make my wife agree to dropping another $60 on another game. Hell I still want to buy and play Uncharted 2 and Gods of War Collection but I'm needing the cash for a vacation instead. End result no sale for them, maybe not ever as I could just borrow the game, or buy it used to get it cheaper.

          And so, we come full circle. Because even if I chose to do that, Sony and probably others will move to cut me off at the balls by forcing a "activation fee" on me. Sorry guys but I'm not made of money, 1 of your will get $60 a month and right now, Steam is beating you hand over fist for value.

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            February 19, 2010 12:00 PM

            "Seems far more logical to me that the publishers should be asking why those people pirate and fix those problems rather than chasing these, for want of a better phrase, 'ghost customers'."

            Thats pretty much what I've been preaching. There were some articles on Ars Tech about an indie dev that sent an open letter to pirates asking why they did what they do. Based on the response, he dropped all DRM and lower the price by $5 and saw a sales increase.

            Also, the piracy that they are fighting is a phantom; theres no solid numbers on it, theres no indication that these people pirating the game would be paying customers otherwise. By learning about the motives, they can discover what piracy can be fought without introducing harsh DRM.

            The thing that never, ever gets discussed that is driving used sales and piracy is the fixed pricing on "retail" games. One of the reasons XBLA games are doing so well is its a lot easier for me to pay $20 for a game than $60. But you might get an XBLA game with 15 hours of gameplay, then buy a AAA title for $60 with 15 hours of gameplay, so I think it's time that developers and publishers start thinking about killing this fixed pricing nonsense and see if releasing some games at a lower price point doesn't encourage new sales.

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